The countdown has begun for the 2022 edition of the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships which are due to be held in Pearse Park, New Ross, on Saturday, July 2.
Entry to the event – will attract 33 pipe bands from north and south of Ireland as well as 20 drum majors who will compete for the title of All Ireland Champion – is entirely free.
This year the entry numbers are somewhat down on the last time the event was held in New Ross in 2018 when 58 bands took part.
"The reduced number of bands is very much due to the effects of Covid on many pipe bands,” said Chairman of the Irish Pipe Band Association, Brian MacMahon.
"Bands were unable to rehearse for months on end and very few bands were able to fundraise. The high cost of fuel has added significantly to overall band costs, especially for the bands travelling from Northern Ireland.”
However, despite the lower entry, the 33 bands who will attend the championship will provide ample colour and pageantry on the day and local organisers are delighted to have been able to attract that number of bands given the extremely difficult circumstances.
The event gets under way at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday, July 2, and wraps up between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The finale at 4.30 p.m. will see each band parade individually in a March Past to a central point where all the bands perform two tunes together prior to the results being announced.
The local New Ross & District Pipe Band will have two bands competing on the day - their ‘A’ Band in Grade 3A and their ‘B’ band in grade 4B.
Some of the New Ross band’s youngest drummers will be helping out the De la Salle Scout band from Waterford City on the day in Grade 4B. So, there’s lots of local interest.
Mr MacMahon said he would like to express the association’s thanks, in particular, to Mick McCormack of the New Ross Municipal District Council and Cllr Anthony Connick who helped secure funding from Wexford County Council and other state bodies for the event.
"Thanks are also due to the New Ross Rugby Club who are assisting with stewarding on the day, the local Garda Síochána and the local committee of volunteers: Matt and Bid Ryan; Anne-Marie Walsh Boyle; Pat Fenlon; Mary Rowe; Tommy O’Connor and Trish O’Callaghan.”